I'm already laughing at myself for including an emo seeming b&w self portrait so that you won't have to. Or, we can laugh together.
The retreat I am referring to is double-edged, retreating from war, and a retreat to shut everything else out and rediscover yourself.
Most of the people I surround myself with, (have coffee with, send my ideas to via email, stalk on facebook and twitter), are other creatives, usually ones that also beat themselves up over what everyone else is doing. One of my least favorite skills is the ability to excuse any shortcomings I feel instead of pushing myself to be that much more amazing.
I obviously have trouble being open about the trials of being a wedding photographer on my business blog, and I think it's a bad move for me anyway, because these very real feelings have no place in my client's wedding day. And it isn't about them.
Things like facebook likes (which I am needlessly addicted to) quickly become annoyances when I realize other photographers are the ones 'liking' me. The constant reminder of how many people are also trying to make a photography business work, that we are all stretching our fingers out to grab the same awesome intimate french and vintage magic inspired wedding is tough. I don't want to actively discourage anyone since I was in their shoes just a few years ago, being that annoying budding photographer, that's silly.
I feel myself becoming more guarded about sharing myself with the world, I guess I want my clients to feel like they have exclusive access to some secret, some magic, that only I possess. This is untrue, if you look at well established photographers who tell all, they haven't given away any magic, I still won't get the same images they do consistently, that's one of the things I've constantly seen lamented on Jonas Peterson's formspring. And I'm not one to keep to myself, I tell my best friends the same stories a million times because I'm hoping somehow they haven't heard this one. I'm a Chatty Cathy if ever there was one.
I suppose I just want to chat one on one with the world, be best friends before I try to take over their lives with my advice (as I am want to do). There is no perfect formula that makes someone a great photographer or successful, but there are traits and reasons you can find for some success. Some people are well-connected or otherwise have the opportunities to do amazing things seemingly handed to them. Some people are amazing at marketing, truly talented and gifted, and become super stars within just a few years, and you'll bitterly look at their images and scoff about how you don't think they are more talented than you are.
I say this more to myself than anyone else, STOP making excuses, stop looking at the success of others with envy, and instead try to create an experience for your clients that they will remember and tell their friends about. It takes a while and I don't think everyone is cut out for the difficulty of owning their own business, of selling themselves, of dealing with the responsibility of a wedding day. I do believe you should love love love it. Don't choose weddings just because you think that's where the money is, commercial photography is pretty banging as well, and if you hate weddings your clients will feel that.
For myself, I think I need to turn everything off for a while (not to say I'm dramatically quitting facebook or anything like that). I need a few days where I'm not plugged into what everyone else is doing, where I'm seeking out my own vision again instead of assuming it's a given. I want to step away from the heat of my laptop and sit in the woods. I'd like to think this is something I do often in my spare time, as if I'm a favorite story book character who is lovely and interesting, but I don't. I just remind myself that I could totally be that. I could read actual bound books instead of blogs with mostly pictures and I could develop my own film. I could run again, anytime I want. It's like I'm addicted to giving things up.
Here is my non-resolution to live again. This probably means more work for my intern (soon to be part time assistant), but hopefully that's a win-win.
This is Kelly, signing off-ish...